A Peak at Picoult: The Authors Who Knows no Boundaries
By Arielle Sobov
“Real writers can’t sleep because there are stories battling around inside their heads. Real writers create characters they weep over, because they are so real. Real writers can’t NOT write,” Jodi Picoult, famous author, said. Author of 16 novels, and the mother to three kids, she is the woman who has us reading on our two-minute subway ride, hoping for a red light just to get a peak at the next few pages, dreaming about her characters, and crying when we realize we’ve reached the last page.
Whether you know her from crying your eyes out at her new movie, My Sister’s Keeper, or if you’ve been reading her novels since the start, it’s obvious she is a woman who never stops thinking and questioning. She encourages readers to think about difficult situations, tosses around ethical questions, and creates such strong characters that are so easy to fall in love with.
Picoult got her start at just seven-years-old when the local newspaper in her grandparent’s town published a poem she had written. Later as a student, Seventeen Magazine published two of her short stories. Though she knew she wanted to be a writer since the very beginning, she took on a job at Wall Street, was a copywriter at an ad agency and taught English among many other jobs before she was published. Perseverance and a very strong will led her to get her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale, published in 1992.
The recipient of many awards, including the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction in 2003, her novels have proven to be worth everyone’s read. Most of her novels focus on family, relationships, ethical questions, and love and most always involve a court case. Perhaps what we love most about her is all that we take away from her novels.
While we may learn a lot after our eyes are dry and in pain from being unable to put her books down, the person who learns the most is Picoult. Her novels involve information about religion, law, diseases, and learning experiences, and she doesn’t just pull this information out of nowhere. A lot, of course, involves hours on the Internet, but most of it involves interviews, traveling, and actually living the lives of her characters.
For her novel, The Plain Truth, Picoult lived on an Amish dairy farm to gain a full understanding about how the Amish live their lives.
“I was there for a week, milking at 4:30 AM and participating in the morning Bible study, as well as helping out with the cooking of meals,” she said.
For her novel The Tenth Circle, Picoult trekked to a remote Eskimo village in Alaska, and visited death row in Arizona for Change of Heart. None of these novels would have been the same had they been written based on preconceptions and things she has read about. Picoult will go the extra mile, even miles- bare foot, weathered and worn- to make sure her novel is flawless and as realistic as it can possibly be.
When we read Picoult’s novels, we feel completely compelled to the characters she writes about.
“I feel her attachment to motherhood through her characters’ relationships,” Alexandra Clymer, student at UMass, Amherst, said. “I can feel it in my heart through her dialogue and description. It is the way every mother feels towards their children, and the way all children feel about their mother.”
Who better to understand the relationship between mothers and children, than a mother herself? She writes about strong relationships that are so real we feel them in the pits of our stomachs. If she’s able to write so naturally about love for children, it is evident that her children come first in her life. And when it comes to parenting, Picoult believes it is best to be open and honest.
“There is no conversation that we shouldn’t be able to have,” Picoult said.
While we may admire her as our favorite mother, she has one of her own, too. In fact, her favorite famous mother is one she created.
“I like Nina Frost from A Perfect Match, who commits MURDER because she loves her son so much,” Picoult said. “She does all the wrong things for all the right reasons!”
Her insightful and thorough novels as well as her ideals about motherhood are two reasons we adore Picoult. But perhaps the best thing about her is that she is relatable, down-to-earth and absolutely hysterical. With distinct curly, red hair and the most comforting, warm smile, we can’t help but love her. The fact that she’s talented and keeps us entertained for hours? Just an added bonus.